REVIEW: On the Prowl by Patrica Briggs, Eileen Wilks, Karen Chance and Sunny
In On the Prowl, four authors try to jump the bridge from fantasy to romance with varying degrees of success. This is an area which is not well populated so I like the concept and hope for better execution in the future. Great cover, though.
Dear Ms. Briggs: Your contribution, “Alpha and Omega”, was the best part of the anthology largely due to your strong voice, however good prose was not enough to cover the relationship flaws. Anna is a young werewolf whose existence as a shiftling has been full of abuse. She believes she is a submissive werewolf because of the way she was treated. Initially, she was passed around the pack until the alpha’s mate stepped in to put a stop to it. Anna is “afraid of her own shadow” and has been made into this mouse of a woman by the abuse inflicted by her pack.
She sees a young man turned, caged and then found dead. She’s sure that her alpha is responsible. Despite her beaten down state, decides to call the Marrok, who has ruled all NA werewolves, even knowing that her actions might cause her to employ the use of the one silver bullet she owns. Charles, the Marrok’s son and enforcer, is sent out to clean up the mess. Upon meeting Anna, he knows that she is not at all a dominant but something completely different.
The worldbuilding is well done here providing a glimpse of a heretofore unexplored aspect of werewolf lore. There is little tension here as the outcome seems predetermined from the minute that Charles steps foot in Chicago. The big problems, however, are the relationship aspects. Charles is an alpha wolf who is finds, in Anna, his mate. Anna, despite her emotional and physical trauma, is able to respond to Charles’ physical demands in a relatively short amount of time. I recognize that this is an anthology but perhaps the characterizations of such a damaged individual like Anna should be saved for a longer writing form. B-
Dear Ms. Wilks: Your Lily and Rule books have been a wonderful contribution to the romance genre. The world that you have been creating is interesting and complicated and I sometimes wonder if you lose track of all the paranormal and otherworldy aspects that are included in your world. While the romance is this book is better than the other three, the world building was suspect at times, particularly at the end.
Kai Tallman Michalski is a woman with a different kind of magic that she hides from most people. Her city is filled with magic haters and to be thought of as a witch is to be in danger. Worse, Kai is being framed for murder. Her friend and good neighbor, Nathan, works to help her evade incarceration. Nathan, like Kai, has a secret about who he.
It’s hard to talk about this book with anything but generalities because alot of the magic of the story is due to the slow unfolding of Kai’s gift and Nathan’s true nature. Nathan and Kai are friends before the story starts and hold an unacted upon attraction for each other. Their tentative movements toward a more romantic relationship was endearing.
The trouble is that much is made of Nathan’s separation from his kind and the ending appears to be so contradictory to what Nathan had been telling Kai (and thus the reader) that it seemed more like a deux ac machina than anything organic. B-.
Dear Ms. Chance: Buying Trouble was my first introduction to your writing. While you have great ideas, the story faltered in the execution mostly because there was too much going on in such a short space.
Claire works as part of the security detail for an auction house that sells magical items. She’s a projective null and therefore can suppress magic around her, preventing any of the customers from using magic to run off without paying. One night, she finds herself for sale and her evil cousin Sebastian is there to buy here. Her cousin isn’t her only problem. She spots a Fey in the midst and knows that if either her cousin or the Fey get their hands on her, she’s toast.
While attempting to escape her “fate worse than death”, Claire gets her hands on a rune and is transported to Faerie world with the Fey. It just so happens that the Fey is a Light Fey and he’s not out to kill Claire, nor use her as a weapon. He wants the rune. While in Faerie, Claire finds that she has another complete magical ability that is brought out through intimate contact.
While there are parts that are funny and smart and interesting, most of the story is disjointed given the wealth of new worlds, creatures and magical beings that the reader is supposed to assimilate in short time. Further, each time Claire is in jeopardy, something coincidental happens and those particular bad guys aren’t seen again, losing any tension that was initially created. The plot arc appears to be Claire’s discovery of her true self, but it seems contrived, particular toward the latter half. C
This contribution, “Mona Lisa Betwining”, is a continuation of the previous Mona Lisa stories. Mona Lisa is the Queen of Louisiana and ruler of approximately 400 full blooded Monere. Through sex, Mona Lisa gains the powers of lovers which is really convenient. Need to be faster? Sleep with a guy who is really fast. Need to be stronger? Sleep with a guy who is stronger. Essentially, there is no limit to what Mona Lisa can become so long as she chooses the right partners.
Of course, Mona Lisa plays the part of a sexual ingenue. “Too many men had been willing to wait for me–"first Amber, then my Demon Prince–"and still I did not know why. ” (you and me both, Mona Lisa). In “Mona Lisa Betwining”, Dontaine approaches Mona Lisa with a sort of a plea to bed her despite having been rejected by her before. Mona Lisa eventually beds him.
The writing is awkward at times. At one point you use the phrase “Crammingly so.” I didn’t even know “crammingly” was a word and I am not sure if it is, it was appropriately used. There is supposedly a plot of sorts in which Mona Lisa is confronted by Lucinda Darkly who is getting her own series but its a bizarre interlude that offers nothing to the tale. In all, this plotless, awkwardly written anthology is really nothing more than window dressing for one woman to have sex with many men, albeit reluctantly and sometimes drunk on the moon. It’s just not my cup of tea. D.